How Long Can You Drive on a Spare?

You’re driving along, minding your own business when you hear a thud, then a repetitive bumping sound. You have a flat. Great timing, right? If you know how to change a tire and can do so safely off to the side of the road away from traffic, you can at least proceed to your destination – if it’s close by.

It’s really best to drive it straight to the tire shop or call for mobile service. While spares are designed to get you out of a jam in a pinch, they shouldn’t be driven on for too long – just enough to get to a safe place where a real tire can be put on. In an ideal world, you would call for concierge roadside mobile tire service.

Here are the ins and outs of driving on a spare.

What to do After a Blowout

When the blowout or flat tire first happens, remain calm. Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel to maintain control of your vehicle. Don’t slam on the brakes; rather, apply gentle pressure so your car can gradually slow down. Pull to the side of the road when safe to do so, switch on the hazard lights and engage the parking brake.

Call a roadside assistance company like I&I to take off the blown tire and attach the spare if you are not familiar with how to do this.

How Long to Drive on a Spare

How long you can safely drive on your spare tire will depend on the quality of the spare. The general rule of thumb is to drive on it for fewer than 70 miles before getting it replaced, but you can consult your owner’s manual for specific recommendations on your make and model. If you have a compact car, you will likely have a donut spare, which is smaller than others and has minimal tread.

You don’t want to drive on those for any length of time because it’s dangerous. As the tire’s lubricating grease wears out, the clutch plates and gears can get damaged. Spares also typically have lower air pressure levels than standard tires, which can throw off your vehicle’s wheel alignment. As a result, it will be tougher to steer and can create unsafe road conditions.

If you have a truck or SUV, you will likely have a full-size spare, which can be driven on for longer periods of time than a donut spare can. Again, check your owner’s manual. Even so, the spare may be a different brand, with a different tread level as opposed to your other three tires. Not only can this put unnecessary wear and tear on your gears, it can affect wheel alignment and steering.

In the end, it’s just best to get a tire put on as soon as you can. The spare is only meant to get you by in an emergency. Plus, you want to be able to store and use your spare again if need be, so you want to maintain its integrity as long as possible. 

Contact I&I Tires

The simplest and safest course of action is to call I&I Tires for mobile or roadside service! All you have to do is contact us in Atlanta at 678-284-2006 or Smyrna at 404-920-0278.